Saturday, 1 March 2014

Getting Out and About

So that’s February done – thank fuck for that. It’s been mercifully short but unremittingly shitty for me. I’ve been treading on eggshells and other clichés; the skeletons in my closet have been rattled, and the cachinnations of the mad woman in the attic have cackled in my ears.

Having to acknowledge the Elephant in one’s Room is hard, and while my skin is pretty thick, I could do with an elephant’s hide.

There is good hide and bad hide. Though it is tempting to hide away when feeling vulnerable, I must not. What’s more, I mustn’t stop writing. Writing is the only way I know to make sense of my own difficult past, to challenge perceptions, and to try to understand the strange and harsh world we live in.

For the first half of March, I fully intend to get out and about, and share my writing with the world (well, the audiences of Edinburgh at least.) To begin, I will present one of the Cautionary Tales that I am posting on this blog this year. You’ll find it below – although the performance at Illicit Ink's 'Underground' show will be accompanied by music, and interpreted by a dancer. Exciting!

In the week, I’ll read at the Antihoot in Henry’s Cellar Bar; then the Inky Fingers Open Mic at the Forest Café; and will perform a grisly phone-box tale at 10Red The following week I’ll appear in a slam (if I’m picked out of a metaphorical hat) and at the University's 'Soap Box.' At The Blind Poet, I’ll recite poems printed in two of the three Blind Poetics Collections, the first of which you can see here.

The first fortnight ends with my birthday, which I intend to celebrate. That evening, the Village Pub Theatre will be presenting short plays by writers new to the V.P.T. Although it’s not strictly true that I’m new, having had my twitter-plays performed there and at the Lyceum (oh, yes!) my sketch, Taboo, will clock in at an untweetable 8½ minutes.

We all have elephants in our rooms; all have difficult issues and taboos, and there are plenty of things we’d rather were left unspoken. But the important thing is dealing with it when the silence is broken. The turret window’s open.

Come talk to me.


Alice (and) the Elephant

from Charlotte & The Charlatan

– and other cautionary tales



Alice kept an elephant in her room. Everybody knew it, although no-one ever saw it. Though she recognised it might be seen as part of her over-worked imagination, Alice was adamant. Alice had an elephant in her room.

            The elephant in Alice’s room was huge. It started out tiny, a micro-pet, but rapidly expanded. Like Alice’s propensity for fantasy, her elephant grew into something of mammoth proportion. Its trumpet-call went from playful ‘toot’ to a blast of brassy distortion. A boisterous calf, the elephant took up half the room; pretty soon, with increased sloth, the creature became a behemoth and finally, eventually, the elephant filled the room.

            Alice allowed the elephant to fill her room. Like the wild and untamed ramblings of her mind, the elephant, in concept and metaphor, ballooned into a fantasy beyond the obvious and blatant fact: without the room, there could truly be no elephant. But without the elephant, could there truthfully be a room? Alice doubted this.

            And so it was, the elephant became the room. And it was so, said Alice to the elephant: the room becomes you. It’s hard to say if this pleased her. The elephant eclipsed all sensibility; to deny its existence was futile, yet it was argued by those who attempted to do so as a childish conceit and puerile. Alice ignored the dissent, since such opinions came and went but the elephant remained.

            It came to pass that the elephant in the room became a phantom pregnancy. Alice felt her womb’s expansion like a blessing and expostulated with a virgin’s fervour: I am magnified by something mighty! Overcome by grandiose delusion, lacking God for guidance, Alice gave her elephantine pregnancy a name. She gave her own name to the elephant in the room.

            Lo, and indeed, behold, Alice became the elephant in her room. Of its real presence, everyone else was aware. If only they could convince her – Alice – that it was really there.             For Alice had put aside her script and developed a hide so thick that neither fear nor sub-text could penetrate or allow her to hear the voices that had deluded her. What lay beneath her cutaneous surface was eluded – to overcome this ‘that which can’t be spoken’ – by a silence that would never again be broken.

            When she became the elephant in the room, Alice became both elephant and room and as such, no longer existed herself, though her name lived on like a promise with which memory could commune. And as we know, the elephant never forgets.

            As to who begat the elephant, only Alice knew. It began as a pet, a myth, a turn of phrase. It turned into a set of values, a concept – a phase. It became a matter of reproof, beyond proof of the truth. Alice was the creator, myth-maker, the reality; the viewer, the viewed, and the human fantasy that any of this exists beyond the bounds of what lies hidden, hiding or buried by or in perverse imaginations.

            Alice and the Elephant in the room.

            The elephant in the room.

            In the room.

No comments:

Post a Comment